Dresses Through the Decades

With another decade drawing to a close, and our expansive selection of vintage-inspired frocks right at my fingertips, I started to think about all the iconic silhouettes that each era brought.

But what about the decade that we’ve just put behind us? We may not have pinned down a nickname for the 2000-10 years, but can you think of a silhouette that defines “the aughts”?

Cinema Foyer Dress, By Cover of Cirrus Dress, and Girl Monday Dress.

Destined for Stardom DressAcoustic Ballad Dress, and Make a Dash For Dress.

Commanding Presence Dress and After School Job Dress.

Which ModCloth items do you think can rep the ’00s?

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  1. EmilyKennedy 12/27/2010 at 3:14 pm #

    For the ’00s I think the over-arching theme is technology. Doing everything online is the defining character of this decade. Other sub-themes: geometry, minimalism, the one-shoulder, and unexpected folded details. I nominate the following dresses:



  2. Victoria / Justice Pirate 12/27/2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Very interesting except that no 20s dresses were above the knees. Even flappers covered their knees since the style was to the ankles and calves only. I LOVE the 40s dress.

    • Ashley K 12/27/2010 at 4:30 pm #

      This is not entirely true, as in the Speakeasy, a woman could often be found wearing a knee length dress. You are correct that most women did cover their legs, but the beginning stages of women wearing shorter dresses can be traced to this time period:)

    • emily 12/27/2010 at 11:41 pm #

      you’re right! but these are modcloth dresses inspired by the styles of each decade

  3. Higgenbottom 12/27/2010 at 3:52 pm #

    oh my goodness! such great picks! i’m smitten with the make a dash dress. for the 21st century, i’m all for the sheath dresses with asymmetry like the intimate gathering dress or the down the block dress. such a great way to showcase the legs!

  4. Allison 12/27/2010 at 4:08 pm #

    I think the 00s could really be summed up in these last few years, the comeback of crazy florals, leggings, chunky sweaters, and the inspiration from the military. It seems that everyone from Anne Hathaway to Lady Gaga was accentuating their shoulders in strong, tailored dresses and coats, kind of like this:

  5. Ashley K 12/27/2010 at 4:28 pm #

    I’d say the Phosphorescent dress and Keen in Blue-green dress best represent a more modern style.

  6. Robbie 12/27/2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I’d say either the Celebration in Tinsel Town Dress, the On Drape Adventures Dress or the Invitation to Dance Dress.

  7. Caroline 12/27/2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I don’t know if I could find one dress for the decade, but the 2000s saw a lot of SHORT dresses, asymmetrical silhouettes, and feminine accents like lace, feathers, and beading.

  8. Julia 12/27/2010 at 6:50 pm #

    I have to say strapless/spaghetti straps/bodycon dresses were everywhere this decade. Also, here are some of the most quintessential 2000s dresses:

  9. Kayli 12/27/2010 at 7:50 pm #


    floral dresses were really popular, especially strapless and short ones.

  10. Mica 12/27/2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I think that the chic simplicity of the Shoulder Me How Dress really defines style in the twenty-first century. It is clean cut and well designed. It also displays three main trends in fashion today: the one-shoulder dress, the mini dress and and one of the biggest colour trends in the 2000’s – heather grey.

  11. Joy 12/27/2010 at 9:17 pm #

    I’d say you’d almost have to split it into 2000-’05 and then ’05-’10 because pop fashion moved so fast its impossible to pin down 1 silhouette.

    however, any twofer dress would probably do well…

  12. Shae 12/27/2010 at 9:39 pm #

    The defining feature of this decade’s dress is that waistline height – not high enough to be a babydoll dress, not low enough to sit at the waist. I’ve never seen that happen any other decade.

  13. Steph 12/27/2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Wow, what happened to women’s clothing!? Look at the 20’s-50’s, it’s so elegant and glamourous then it changes in the 60’s and 70’s and becomes, to be frank, rather ugly in the 80’s and 90’s. Let’s all make an effort to revert women’s fashion back to ladylike elegance of the 30’s and 40’s for this coming decade…

    • Victoria 12/28/2010 at 11:55 pm #

      Unfortunately, elegance and ‘ladylike’ often = discomfort and constraint. I’ll take ugly shoulder pads and neon colours if it means I can dance, or even breathe, properly in them.

  14. Emily 12/27/2010 at 11:52 pm #

    there were so many different styles in the 00’s that it’s hard to find one solid trend, but i would have to say mini dresses showed up in many different trends as well as higher waists. I think through all of the different trends a big part was balancing very harsh, unique styles with feminine accents, or the other way around. some of the modcloth dresses that reprisent this are the “bloom moon dress”, the “gemstone dress”, and the “glistening with glee dress”

  15. Kaylee 12/27/2010 at 11:53 pm #

    The 00’s were new to the 21st century and were trying to modernize everything which includes wardrobe. Focus on the more modern pieces with a little more skin showing, slight ruffles, bright colors, and patterns.

  16. Candy 12/28/2010 at 12:11 am #

    Celebration in Tinsel Town Dress. It’s so 2000 it’s sparkly and dazeling! Just like 2000!

    • Sophie 12/29/2010 at 6:28 am #

      Totally Agree with Celebration in Tinsel Town Dress becasue Alot of people where these type of dresses. I think It’s Harder Than the other Decades becasue most of the trends this decade are comebacks.

  17. Nessa 12/28/2010 at 12:42 am #

    I agree with some previous posters that there were so many, and I also think a defining feature of this decade was copying other decades, but some things that really first appeared or atleast seem to have first gotten big were those dresses that look a bit like a normal knit tee or top attached to a skirt, and short, tight, body conscious dresses, especially with one-shouldered styling.

  18. charlotte 12/28/2010 at 5:06 am #

    I think the funny thing about the 00s is that the whole decade has been all about reinvention.
    Especially as in the last few years everyone has gotten so into vintage and thrifted pieces- all our styles have been recycled and regurgitated.
    But I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. I’ve loved the 90s revival the last few years and who doesn’t love flattering 50s-style dresses?
    I can’t wait to see what you decide, it’s definitely going to be tough.


  19. Emily 12/29/2010 at 12:05 pm #

    The dresses were so short this decade, and lots of long, soft ruffles. I like the twitteration dress for the one that seems most iconic to this decade:

  20. Annie 12/29/2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Remember how the peasant style was all the rage in 2001? I
    wore some hideous billowy, brown and orange numbers. Or the
    terrible bare midriff phase? But it’s like that every decade.
    Certainly the women of the 20’s had a number of different styles
    and might not like being pigeon-holed by the flapper dress. But
    such is the way of history. Maybe the Simply Elegant Dress would be
    my pick. It’s an LBD, which has been a standby this decade, it has
    the spaghetti strap that was so essential for the first half of the
    decade, and it has a bow, which I think represents the more retro,
    accessorized quality of the last few years. Not the chicest thing
    for today, but perhaps a good representation of these

  21. Victoria 12/30/2010 at 2:13 pm #

    definitely any two-fer dresses.
    they were all the rage in the late 00’s.

  22. Shannon 12/30/2010 at 9:27 pm #

    This is the dress that I believe sums up the perfect silhouette for this past decade. It’s soft,flattering, feminine, and modern while including a classic look of past decades.


  23. eve 12/31/2010 at 9:26 am #

    body-con definitely! also one shoulder dresses, either are very epoch-defining.

  24. Katie 01/01/2011 at 10:06 pm #

    I think the definitive “2000’s” style started with the sudden emo/pop-punk that exploded earlier in the decade. From that initial trend, we got tons of the trends that really defined the decade. For example, rocker chic, nerd chic, 80’s revival, scene kids, “kawaii” obsession, hipsters, heavy makeup, and a wider acceptance of more “alternative” lifestyles in modern culture. Even though emo culture was highly controversial and many people despised it, it’s really what shaped this decade.
    For this reason, I think the defining dress of the decade would be a black or grey t-shirt dress, probably worn with black Converse and a comfortable hoodie. My picks are the Stay Tuned Dress and the River Romantic Dress.

  25. Erin 01/10/2011 at 6:11 pm #

    i LOVE almost all of these dresses, however i think we went through a very rough patch through the 80s and 90s.

  26. Anna 01/11/2011 at 9:48 am #

    00´s is so Sienna Miller… Anything from Sienna or maybe
    Kate Moss or the Olsen twins wardrobe wound say 00´s for

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